How Spending $162,301.42 on Clothes Made Me $692,500

neil patel

Over the last 12 months, I’ve acquired a new addiction… shopping. And it’s not because I love clothes. The reality is I don’t care for them at all. At home, I walk around in .com t-shirts and basketball shorts because it’s super comfortable.

If it were up to me, I would wear that all day… including in business meetings.

But over the last 12 months, I’ve noticed that when I dress nicer, I seem to be getting larger business deals. Mainly, it’s because people assume that I’m well off based on how well I dress.

Funnily enough, I’ve done all right for a while now… but it’s only in the last 12 months that I’ve been dressing extremely well. I’ve always dressed somewhat decently because I’ve learned that it builds trust and credibility. And dressing well helped grow my consulting rate from $100 to over $1,000, all because of clothes.

As I don’t do much consulting anymore, I thought it would be a fun experiment to take wardrobe to the extreme and see what spending six figures on clothes would do for my business.

Download this bite sized cheat sheet to know how spending $162,301.42 on clothes made me $692,500.

Before I get into what I learned, keep in mind that you too can achieve similar results without spending this much money. I’ll show you how towards the end of the post.

So, let’s get started…

How do you spend $162,301.42 on clothes?

That’s a good question. And to be honest, I never thought clothes cost that much either.

I mainly shop at 3 stores… Tom Ford, Dolce and Gabbana, and Burberry. And because I am a conservative business guy, I tend to wear clothes that are black, white, blue, or grey.

So I’m not buying anything that looks crazy. I buy so I can I attend a ton of business meetings and functions. The sad part is suits, jackets, tuxedos, and briefcases aren’t very affordable.

Plus, I meet with a lot of the same people often, so I try not to wear the same thing over and over again.

Suits like the ones below range from $2,000 to $7,000 a pop…

suit image

suit image

Briefcases like the one below start at $3,000…

bag

Shoes like the ones below start at a $1,790 and can go up to $5,500.

shoes

And it doesn’t stop there. Add the accessories from belts to ties to tie clips… it all adds up.

Even my white dress shirts end up costing around $750.

Now that you understand how one can spend that much on clothes, let’s dive into how it’s helped me generate more income.

How fancy clothes can make you more money

People believe what they see. If people think you look successful, in their eyes you are successful.

It sucks because I would have rather spent the $162,301.42 on a charity than clothes, but I know I need to grow my business as it will make me more money in the long run. This will allow me to donate more money to charity.

Nonetheless, I have a closet full of nice clothes that I try to wear whenever I leave the house. I receive compliments from random strangers almost every time I walk out of my door. And some of those people ask me what I do for work.

Sadly, none of those conversations have turned into business deals because let’s face it… the average person you meet on the street typically can’t write you a six-figure check. Most people don’t own a business, and most people aren’t high power executives in the corporate world.

Where having nice clothes really helps is in business meetings. I’ve had so many meetings over the years that I know I can close roughly 1 out of 4. The biggest reason I can’t close at a higher percentage is that most people feel the prices I am quoting are absurd.

I have been tracking every meeting I attend for the last four and half years. I have a big Excel sheet with my closing ratios, average pitch price, company name, people within the meetings, their job titles, etc.

What I realized is that when I started to dress extremely nicely, the people in these meetings felt I was extremely successful. For that reason, they wanted to be associated with me, and it’s helped to increase my closing ratio from 25% to roughly 40%. That means out of every 10 meetings, 4 result in the companies signing up with me now.

The difference is huge! It was so huge that financially it brought in an extra $692,500 in revenue. It’s especially astounding considering that nothing else changed—not my pitch, not the prices, and not even the type of companies I was meeting with. The only difference was clothes.

How clothes can help build relationships

I rarely ever go to the store to buy clothes… because I hate shopping. But once, when I was in Dolce and Gabbana in Beverly Hills, a few basketball players walked in.

I didn’t know who they were or what they did. I just found it odd that they were walking around in small packs. One of them walked up to me and told me I had “swag.” I wasn’t very familiar with the term “swag,” but I took it as a compliment.

He asked me what I did; I gave him my standard spiel about me doing crap on the Internet; and he told me a bit about himself. He is the financial manager for a lot of the popular sports players out there. He teaches them how to save and invest money.

He took my number because he wanted to learn about how the Internet works, and he also gave me his corporate code for any Starwood Hotel so I would save a few hundred dollars per night anytime I travel. It may not sound like a big savings, but when you consider that I’m on the road for at least 200 days out of the year, it really adds up.

As some of his basketball colleagues were roaming around, one picked up a cashmere hoodie that was going for around $2,000. He asked me what I thought of it. I told him I liked it so much that I had already bought it. When asked what I was going to wear it with, I said gym shorts as I plan on using it while I run.

hoodie

He thought I was crazy, and to some extent I am. After that, however, I received a few dozen texts from him and his friends, who gave me free NBA ALL Star tickets worth around $4,000, a few free courtside tickets to some Miami Heat games, and a few new business opportunities.

But could it just be me?

When I first started this experiment, I decided to do it with a friend because I wanted to see if it had a similar effect on someone who didn’t have as much money, experience, or business contacts.

A friend of mine, Mike Kamo, decided to do the experiment with me. His results were astonishing as well. But before I get into the results Mike saw, let me show you how he dressed a year ago…

old mike

Mike spent a bit under $10,000 on clothes, and now he dresses like this…

new mike

Mike came from a car dealership world, and he specializes in sales and sales management. After attending a few tech events dressed like in the image above, Mike found that people started coming up to him and asking him what he did.

While attending tech events, he consistently got compliments on his clothes, and a few of those people hired him to help them build their sales teams and fine-tune the process.

He did this on a revenue-sharing model, and it worked so well that he started to hit six figures in monthly income.

Now, you may say that he could have gotten the same results with his old clothes, but he didn’t. He has always been a confident and outgoing person. But when he approached people at tech events in a t-shirt and jeans, the people were nice to him, but no one wanted to work with him. Why? Because they felt he wasn’t successful.

To make the experiment even more interesting, Mike recently purchased a Lamborghini.

lambo

He usually drives a Mazda, but one of his buddies, who owns a Lamborghini dealership, asked him if he would buy a car as a favor. Mike didn’t care to make a purchase like this, but the dealership team had to sell one more car to hit their monthly sales number. And if they hit that number, Lamborghini was going to give them a big check for moving volume.

The dealership was willing to lose money on the car, so Mike bought it. Granted, once he drove it off the lot, the car depreciated, but he can still resell the car and make a profit of $12,000 to $13,000 after taxes, which he is planning on doing.

Like most of us would do, he decided to drive it for a bit and post a few pictures of it online. Can you guess what happened after he did that?

He received 107 Facebook requests from business owners. Most of them wanted him to invest in their businesses, but five of them offered Mike a portion of their business in exchange for advice. Mike moved forward with one of the companies, which is also providing him with a $50,000 upfront fee for his time.

That’s not too bad, considering all he did was post a picture of himself in a fancy car.

Conclusion

If you want to run the same experiment, you can do so on the cheap. Clothes don’t have to be expensive. I went to the extreme as I tend to do a bit too often. The most important part about fashion is how well the clothes fit you.

You can go to stores like Zara and H&M and get really good looking clothes that fit exceptionally well for a few hundred bucks.

And if they don’t fit very well, you can pay a tailor to help adjust the fit.

The sad reality is that people judge us on how well we do based on things they can see. Clothes being one of those things. And based on Mike’s experiment, cars are also one of those things people judge us by.

By no means should you spend over $100,000 on clothes or anywhere near there… I just took the more efficient approach and went with brands that could send their employees to my home for a fitting while I was working because I didn’t want to step away from my computer.

So, are you going to start dressing differently?

P.S. If you want to test more creative ways to grow your income go here.

Comments

  1. That’s why I love shopping at outlet stores.
    I currently can’t afford spending much money on clothes, yet outlet stores sometimes offer up to 70% in discount!

    Will put that to a test tomorrow, when I’m inviting a well respected blogger for coffee to meet him for the first time.

    I’m curious 🙂

    Jan

    • Jan, outlet stores are great because of the discounts you mentioned. I am sure you will look and do well. Best of luck!

    • Philip Spiers :

      Wow! I never thought I would see a fashion article on a web marketing blog. But, you are absolutely right. Fashion is a tool to get (attract) what you want.

      Neil, you need to check out my Santa Fe store, Tom Taylor for the finest handmade belts, buckles, and bags in the world.

      By the way, your blog is the best. Unlike most, your post actually have some meat in them. I can definitely see using your services in the future.

      All the best,

      Philip

  2. It’s a shame that most people judge you on your appearance but that’s life unfortunately. I always wear smart clothes anyway as that’s just how I like to dress but I definitely feel it gives off the impression of professionalism and success.

    • Luke, it’s all about having a clean look at the end of the day. I agree that it sucks that people judge based on appearance.

    • There was an interesting video done awhile back of a videographer who took a homeless guy off the street, cleaned him up, and dressed him a suit. He wanted to see what would happen if panhandling in a suit would change people’s perspective about giving money.

      The results were surprising. People didn’t even think twice about handing the *successful looking* guy a buck. The only thing he changed was the clothes.

      What’s the old quote, perception is reality? I think part of the appeal is people want to buy into your success. Having nice clothes is part of the “social” proof that this guy is successful and that I can trust him.

  3. Prateek Bansal :

    Neil, I too have decided to change my way of dressing and started looking professional. It helps to grow you and your business and I have realised that.

  4. Could not agree more, 1st appearances count for everything. If you do not take pride in every aspect of your appearance then you give the impression you also would not fully care about your clients business needs and requirements.

    Dave Lane

    • David, appearances matter and showing up counts. At the end of the day you want to put yourself in a position to succeed.

  5. Damn true, people always judge other with their appearance.

  6. Christopher Pontine :

    Hey Neil,

    Gosh totally true when you state “The sad reality is that people judge us on how well we do based on things they can see.” the plus is though if you see this you look at it as potential and take full advantage.

    I guess dress for success and keep it gangsta cause that’s how it gets done.

    Thanks for a rocking article Neil, and to all dress for success but make sure on national ugly sweater day you still rock one out.

    Thanks,

    Christopher Pontine

    • Christopher, I still like to have fun haha — an ugly sweater on a national day is not out of the question.

      Confidence and a clean look really matter!

  7. Dressing and live in Hyatt Hotel is really pleasing to us. That’s different from other that you are living in a Hotel 🙂

  8. Madame Ostrich :

    If you’d ever like to run the same test to see how it works for a female… you know who to call!

  9. I prefer to goto meetings naked…

  10. All things we used everyday are related with our business 🙂

    Thanks for the great sharing.

  11. And I always thought you buy a Lamborghini AFTER you become successful 😉 Very original post.

  12. Useful insight Neil (as ever) – I’ve always struggled with what to wear when networking or meeting prospective clients – may just be a coincidence, but I have found that recently, since I’ve been dressed in a suit I’ve had more new business than when I was dressed smart casual!

    • Mark, it’s odd and a shame that people care about appearance as much as they do. Once we understand it though it makes it that much easier to go with the flow and dress to impress.

  13. So true… I recently bought a Porsche and now family / friends and other people automatically take what I do more seriously just because of the car they realise the success.

    My clothing has remained the same though… perhaps I need to change that next? Altho I do find it funny getting out of my Porsche wearing my crap clothing and seeing peoples faces as they look bemused as to how I can drive such a car.

    • Mark, a car and a new wardrobe can do wonders to your image. At the end of the day as long as you exude confidence it will really push the issue of success.

    • Social Media News | Internet Tips | Blog Hours :

      Definitely I felt this since 7 months ago. when I started blogging everyone talks about my rubbish career but now they proud on me.

    • Hi Mark

      Nice to hear your experience

  14. Thats funny, that you mention dressing up helped increase sales. When I was in corporate I was always seen as one of the best dressed in the office. I left the corporate to pursue a business online and thought I needed to dress down to play into the geeky Internet guy role. Maybe I need to go back to my old style and will start to see sales increase.

    • Leon, if you are making in person appearances and attending business meetings the same rules apply. There are few people who can 100% of the time stay behind the computer and make big money.

  15. Neil,

    Like they say, looking good is good business, so if you’re not wearing the right kind of clothes or if you’re not driving a smart car, you may end up with the wrong kind of crowd,

    people look out for things they will enjoy, like they say, the more you look the less you see

    • Uzoma, it’s true. People really do look for certain things when picking who they will invest their time and money in. A car can do wonders and so can a new wardrobe.

  16. Yeah – sales people need to dress nice and buy expensive cars to give off impressions… Successful people can wear and drive whatever they want. (Jobs, Zuckerberg, many many good developers) The truth is that a lavish lifestyle leads to wastefulness…not more money. Focus on clothes and cars if you want shallow friends. Focus on a great product if you want great sales…

    • While the most successful people can dress down anyone building their business will probably be better off dressing up. That’s life

    • It’s about branding. Package yourself well.

      Zuckerberg’s brand is Facebook. And Facebook is already wearing very expensive clothes in terms of perceived authority.

      When the brand is your personal authority and that is what you’re looking to sell, you better put more than just a brown paper bag around it.

  17. now i think i want to change my some fashion and build some professional image. i am mostly lazy to my clothes.

  18. Clothes do not always ‘make’ the man, but they do set in motion a positive first impression. And that is very important.

  19. You mister, you are great, you absolutely deserve the money you have.

  20. Stories sells, This is what Neil did here. Write an experiment and let other people do the same. I doubt who paid more ZARA or H&M

  21. Jacqueline Ludlow :

    Very interesting post. I am very much like you, Neil, I hate shopping -but your experience here confirms how we are judged by our appearance, especially in the business world. Thanks for sharing!

  22. Ashish Bhatnagar :

    I couldn’t identify Mike in the second pic btw 😛 Dressing definitely makes a big difference 🙂

  23. Isabell ishwarey :

    Aneil
    Yes there is actually a study in social pschology. That ppl took a prescription drug from a regular dude who was wearing a doctors coat and didn’t take the drug from a real doctor wearing a t-shirt.

  24. Neil, this is fascinating. I started my career at Andersen Consulting (pre-Accenture, yes I’m *that* old). It was pounded into us early to wear nice clothes. But I had no idea the clothes might be as valuable as what you’ve shown!

    I’m glad you repeated the experiment with Mike — makes it much more believable.

    One thing I’ve noticed — not only do you have to wear the clothes, but you have to be comfortable wearing them. If you walk around in hoodies every day and attend that one conference in a suit (and for women, in heels), the pain is going to show. Just my 2 cents.

    Thanks, as always!

    • Melissa, glad I could help. I think at the end of the day these small things make a big difference. I look forward to hearing much more from you.

  25. Neil darling, you must bin those blue loafers or donate them to a gent who likes gent in need somewhere. I can *not* with them and nor should you.

    However, I can confirm the rest of what you’re saying – if the manager of a company drives a beaten up car everyone assumes the company’s on the outs and has no confidence in its services. Known fact in the business world.

    • Jern , you bring up some interesting points about the confidence of a business. It all comes down to appearances and reflecting a good image for your company.

  26. Andy Pope - PUA :

    Power perceived is power achieved. 😉

    Though it’s not just the clothes. You also need to have the style and confidence along with the clothes.

  27. Giovanni Sacheli :

    Good point, in Italy we know very well this concept. We have a dictum: “l’abito fa il monaco” and it means that your way you dress tells many things to who is watching you!

    • Pierluigi Buccioli :

      The Italian saying is “l’abito NON fa il monaco” and it actually means the exact contrary of what Neil wanted to prove with his experiment.

  28. Hi,
    Awesome … Loved your idea about dressing & Business.
    Although I am introvert ,don’t face people much.
    But it’s gonna work for sure.
    Thanks.

    • Munira, let me know how it works out!

      • Hey Neil,
        Thanks fr your reply.
        This is the second time I have commented on your blog and hav always received a reply.
        I have been reading about you and your work since sometime now, it’s surprising how do u mange to reply so many of us.

      • Hey Neil,
        Thanks fr your reply.
        This is the second time I have commented on your blog and hav always received a reply.
        I have been reading about you and your work since sometime now, it’s surprising how do u mange to reply so many of us.

        Thanks a again

  29. Awesome post Neil! I totally agree! Let’s all go SHOPPING!

  30. Yes dressing up and being fashionable does make a difference, interesting post Neil.

  31. Bullshit, what about Zuckerberg and his flipflops?

  32. Hi Neil,

    I read all your blog posts but never comment back, but this post somehow hit a home run with me. I am a woman entrepreneur from India and I totally love tshirts & jeans – they are very comfy and I rarely wear anything else no matter where I go (except for family events). I always felt like this is who I was and people should accept me the way I am.. why dress up like someone who you are not!

    But I know that we all judge people based on how they look, especially more with women. I am guilty of that too.

    This post was a huge eye opener for me. I guess I am now going to dress up better. It is what they say “always dress like the person who you want to be, not the person who you already are”

    • Jayasri, I used to be in the same boat — but I realized that it does make a big difference. Try it out for a couple of months then get back to me and let me know how it worked out!

  33. Jeez, is that you in the photo? Looking great!

    Interesting article. So true .

  34. Judith Wellner :

    Neil – to start with, I love your work. And as someone who has worked both in the tech and fashion industry, I definitely agree that how we present ourselves is key. I also think it has to be true to who we are.

    If I was your branding advisor, I’d recommend to shop at some other places. Not because of the amount of money you are spending but because of the message shopping with certain labels means.

    Maybe we’ll chat about this some time. 🙂

    Cheers,

    Judith

  35. Just don’t show up to a VC pitch looking like this. It’s interesting, Silicon Valley and tech startups in general have an anti suit culture. The nerds don’t wear suits and it’s the nerds who build great technology companies. This idea is so prevalent that Peter Thiel has a blanket rule to never invest in anyone who shows up to a pitch in a suit because according to him, real technologists wear jeans and a t-shirt, often with another startups logo plastered on the front. Sure there are edge cases where he might miss out on a good deal but more often than not he claims he can save himself from a bad deal based on appearance alone.

    I think it’s important to know your audience and dress for the occasion.

    • Emery, that’s definitely true. A lot of my deals are in the marketing world. When I am in tech mode I definitely look at my audience. The important point to take away here is to always know your audience.

    • “It’s interesting, Silicon Valley and tech startups in general have an anti suit culture.”

      ^So true and I love it. It doesn’t mean look bummy but you definitely don’t have to wear a Zara 3-piece

  36. Prior I was a gray v neck + jeans kind of guy. My reasoning was it reduces my decision/will power/decision fatigue/obama does it/ etc.

    Recently I started dressing up. White button up. Nice shoes. etc. I generally feel better and more confident with myself and I believe it shows outwardly as well.

    I brought up this topic to a mastermind group I’m part of and they all agreed on this topic as well.

    • Kenny, great to hear. I had the same mentality. I upped my clothing game a bit and saw a big difference. Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

      • Thanks for the response!

        Do you try to apply the same principle of reducing decision fatigue with nice clothes as well?

        For example do you have only a couple of core outfits you choose from for the week?

  37. Hi Neil,

    Nice hear that your tips has well worked for your friend. To be frank, I’m just a middle class person – Indian Family. I can’t offer this much of money to buy such a clothes and it always remains dream for me to dress like that.

    I know that people in this world are well attracted to person who dresses well. But you know, to manage all this. I do buy a suit which actually looks like a brand but it is not with very much less price/ Or even I’ll go to some shop which actually gives me a suite for one day rent. With that I used to meet up people and consult business with them ;).

    Sure one day will turn out me. Where I’ll buy in Tom ford 🙂

    At least approve this comment in your blog 😉

    Siva

    • Siva, of course I’ll approve this comment. I mentioned some lower cost options that look just as good. Zara and H&M do a great job — you should try things out from there.

  38. Dressing for success will definitely make a good first impression and first impressions are key if you want to move forward in life.

  39. Looking good Neil!

    You’ve made a great case for this mama to turn in her minivan for a Lamborghini! What color should I get?

  40. Oh wow!! I will really take this to a whole new level for sure. I happen to own a mens fashion blog if anyone’s interested (I won’t post it here, just click on my name): we feature a lot of guides, how to’s and even offer consultations for how to dress for different events (just contact us).

    It’s so weird how you can make a simple change as clothes (you do need attitude, though) and have such a big impact on your life, business.

    I’ll definitely do the experiment, especially as I want to approach some businesses to work with them on their online presence.

    Thanks Neil, you always deliver great advice and fashion advice is probably the one thing I’d never thought I’d read on your blog, but I see it’s well received :))

    • Mihai, glad I could help. I think fashion and being presentable makes a big difference in perception. Whatever you can do to get ahead of the curve should be done. Thanks for the feedback.

  41. thanks i would try this

  42. I’d rather overdress than underdress everyday. As I see in the thread of comments, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

    When I worked on Wall Street in unfortunately a boiler room atmosphere I saw brokers buying their cold callers $500++ suits and $100 ties and they did seem to act differently on the phone. Granted it was a mindset issue, it worked.

    Than the day they were on their own after opening their first account they’d cut there $100 tie in half to celebrate and motivate to make more sales to afford to buy their own ties. Sick ritual, but worked.

    Great post as always ~ Mike

    • Mike,
      That industry definitely has a culture of perception. That’s why it’s important to focus on the things that will make you money — dressing well being one of them.

  43. In first meeting only Gods can know the true worth of a person. Mere mortals like most of us can only judge by what we see. And clothes that we wear are the first things that people see. And they make judgement about our capabilities based on that. This is a fact of life that many of us – including myself – do not want to accept.

    But as you mentioned, if we want to earn big, we gotta accept this universal truth. Business and Dating are alike. You wanna win the hand of the fair maiden or check of the business owner, then first look good. Being good can come later.

    And having said all this – it is also true that for repeat business and repeat date you better be good. The good clothes or clean looks alone will not sustain you.

    • Sanjeev, wise words. I agree that it’s really important to focus on the things that will make your perception improve. Whether it’s dating or business the same principles apply.

  44. Great post! I also love Burberry and I can definitely understand how easy it is to drop a few thousand here and there.

    I also find that Indochino.com is a great place to buy awesome looking, tailor fitted suits that won’t cost you thousands.

    • Erick, I have heard indochina is a great place to find fitted suits and other items.

      • Al Bateman :

        Excellent article, Neil.

        I agree with Erick and Zach. My experience with online made to measure companies has generally been good.

        I have recently tried a new one and picked up a shirt from http://www.aleksandjoel.com and would recommend them as it ticks all the boxes.

  45. Just had to leave a comment to say that this was pretty god-dang cool.

    I sense how a fashion interest just sparked in me… 😀

  46. I always love your posts Neil. It’s funny that because I spend my whole life pretty much behind a computer screen, I’m not too big on fashion I’m more comfort than anything. However recently my bf and I had this discussion about my appearance in my YouTube videos. He mentioned I should look more “professional” however I didn’t agree. After reading this post, now I’m reconsidering the idea. I wonder if it would have similar effect if I changed my appearance in my YouTube videos to look more “successful”.

    Thanks again for always turning out engaging and valuable content!

    Xoxo,
    Ashley

    • Ashley, I definitely think looking professional can really skew people’s perception of you in a positive way. Personality and other things will come after. Let me know if you need help with anything else.

  47. Micha Mikailian :

    Aaaaaaaaoooooooooooowwww!! Great post Neil. Made me realize how much I’ve been dressing like a hippie since burning man and how much $$ thats cost me … Time to dust off the Prada jackets 🙂 Hope you’re doing well brotha!

  48. Jonelle Hilleary :

    Hi Neil- Great post and interesting insights. Wondering how men’s grooming habits today (that unshaven look or the three day beard) either adds to or detracts from the well-tailored image?

    Same for women, sandals and bare legs seem to go against the professional look and impression. IMHO, anyway!

    BTW, looking forward to seeing you at our Lake Las Vegas event in January! Thanks again.

    • Jonelle, I think a well kept beard can really add style points. It shows that a man takes the time each morning to perfect his look. As for women I am not as sure — don’t want to get in trouble for saying anything out of tune with the consensus haha.

  49. Dressing well not only changes how others see you, it also changes how you see yourself. And that’s probably more important.

  50. Krishna Sadasivam :

    Good advice, Neil. How would this apply to folks in creative fields?

  51. Love seeing this! I need all the justification I can get for splurging on high end clothing. I’ve always loved the way it fits and feels and now I get credit for how it makes other people feel.

    The one suggestion I would give to any male taking your advice Neil is to also spend on a fashion consultant. ESPECIALLY if you’re on a tight budget. The salesperson knows some stuff but they are interested in putting you into specific pieces – not developing an overall wardrobe that can be interchanged and paired differently for variety with the same pieces which might require you going to more than one store.

    Most men are absolute disaster zones when it comes to fashion and they don’t even know it and they biggest violation they make is buying ill-fitting ensembles.

    If a man can admit he doesn’t know diddly, he can go far with fashion with the help of an expert. Even if he’s on a budget.

    One guy I would suggest people looking up is Aaron Marino. He’s got a site and he sells tutorials, and probably consulting, that helps you understand the do’s and don’t’s of fashion which make sure you don’t end up looking like a clown in $12,000 dollars worth of clothes.

    In my eyes, the investment in the fashion consultant should come FIRST and then the investment in the pieces they see working best for you and your purposes and style.

    Thank you Neil for the inspiration! It was very cool to see that you’ve had success with this simple shift.

    • Lewis, thanks for the tips. I think a style consultant can definitely do the trick. I haven’t really invested in one because I just use the ones they have in the stores I frequent. Thanks for the tips!

  52. Neil – Love your extreme illustration on the ROI of dressing well. An individual is the visual manifestation of a brand. One of our family codes is: when you leave the house you represent the entire family not only through actions, but also through dress. Our results concur with yours. (Just try dressing up for a flight or when you’re checking into a hotel.)

    Have you thought about doing another breakdown of the value of your fancy duds based on the cost per wearing?

    • Fran, I never thought of it that way. It really is a representation of your family. I have not done that comparison, however, I will definitely consider it.

  53. I love this article. I’ve been reading your stuff for awhile, and this is probably my favorite yet. Definitely makes me want to clean my casual self up.

    You should have added a female friend to the mix, to see if results are also similar for a woman. (Maybe in another article? Or updated version 🙂 )

  54. This example is fascinating. I was also thinking about it the other day. When it comes to business, perception is reality. If people perceive you as not being successful, than for all intents and purposes you might as well not be successful. On the flip side, if you are perceived as being successful, then people will treat you accordingly, so long as you’re also able to deliver results. Someone who owns a marketing agency or a real estate agent could spend $1000 per month to lease a nice car which could end up paying for itself if you consider it part of your marketing budget and it helps you close more deals. I love your example of this, Neil, even though it’s a bit extreme for most people.

  55. Spend the money on items you wear often: Sunglasses, belt, shoes. I learned this from a hooker in Atlantic City once– she can tell which guys to target based on their shoes (expensive shoes = $$).

    As far as clothes, FIT is the most important thing as you mentioned. Outlet stores plus a REALLY good tailor goes a long way.

    As far as suits, get yourself a made-to-measure suit. Once you do, you won’t go back to off-the-rack. Custom suits cost less than you think too (<$1000) from places like My.Suit in NYC.

    Last tip: Don't spend money on hookers 😉

  56. Steve Estimable :

    Wow Neil! This is incredible , I really love this post and the tracking sheet for your meetings! I always knew it was important but… the benefits you get from your experience is outstanding! I will certainly push it to a higher level!

  57. This concept is so true, I consider myself an attractive girl, but it is not often that I take the extra time to get ready, when I do, I notice people going out of their way to say ‘hello’ or help me out in some way whether it is to hold open a door or the like.

  58. I completely agree with you about fit. How your clothes fit says way more about you than what brand they are. Very interesting and valuable read. Thank you.

  59. Neil, I don’t have anything constructive to add here other then yet another great article and that you are totally rocking the shaved head look!

  60. Hey is it something like trunk club? I was just thinking about how I would pay someone to find me outfits online and have them delivered to me. Or pay a personal stylist/shopper.

  61. Like my dad I always hated to fit in. Not that I won’t dress up to the occasion but since a couple of months I invest more time to the whole picture and actually did some shopping at H&M today to make a nice presence to potential employers. Thanks for this crazy experiment. I will print it and put it on my wall for the coming time.

    Peter

  62. Farcas Gelu Danut :

    Neil, your idea is crazy! 🙂
    I love your idea!
    I’ll try to apply this idea of yours.
    I send you a beer via email. 😉

  63. Spot on post. I did this a few years ago, but not to this extent. If I could post a video of my reaction when reading this, and knowing how this simple change in appearance works – you’d laugh, my man. lol. Nothing wrong with lookin’ good…ever!

  64. Hello !

    Thank you for your advices and tips !

    What belts do you wear ? ( Hermès, ? )
    Please tell me what brands do you wear !

    Btw Congrats and keep going !

    Best Regards !

    Alexander

  65. Hi Neil,

    It makes a lot of sense in the corporate world. But if you want to make new connections with geeks and developers. I think fancy clothes would repel them. Would like to hear your opinion.

  66. I always feel like I get treated differently when I leave the house wearing a suit. I’ve experienced this in business situations as mentioned in this post, but also when I walk into any store. Employees seem like they’re a little extra nice. Customer service seems to get taken up a notch.

    I don’t always dress to the nines for meetings, but maybe I should start doing it more often.

  67. Neil,
    You got swag, man! I bet dressing up is probably a good idea for web based profile photos too.

    Guess it’s time to dump my Walmart clothes…

  68. Thanks for this great story Neil, whilst intuitive, it’s amazing to see the actual results demonstrated like this! I work in fashion where appearances are obviously key 24/7 – however I am going to take it up a notch for meetings and events after reading this!! Thanks for all of your insightful work.

  69. And let’s not forget, the nice clothes might help close the deal or make a new one but the work starts there. You still have to do a good job or no amount of good clothes will work.

  70. The whole reason I work online is so I can sit around in pajamas all day, or dye my hair pink if I feel so inclined. I have no doubt that this experiment works, but only at the expense of giving up your freedom and playing by other people’s rules.

    • Diane, I always say to each their own. I have found this strategy works for me. At the end of the day people should do what makes them happiest.

  71. I’m here in this world for one thing, One thing only..
    to By my own Lamborghini

  72. Neil, I guess your post will resonate with many people 🙂

    Following Erich Fromm, a social psychologist and psychoanalyst, I am also sure that people in order to be happy (and mentally healthy) need to live their lives in a manner of ‘to be’ rather than ‘to have’.

    Unfortunately, our world in many ways judges by appearance (what you have) too much.

    Moreover, it seems to me that too many people even don’t really care about their own ‘to be’ ingredient, focusing only on ‘to have’.

    If people don’t loose their authenticity behind clothes, cars, houses etc they own, I’ll be happy for these people.

  73. Since I stopped wearing jeans in work place its all rocking. Even the same managers now listen to you like they never saw u in jeans ????

  74. There is a phrase that defines this: “You’re not who you are but what others think you are” Greetings Neil.

  75. Once upon a time when I was in college, I was driving across the state of Minnesota for a job interview. I didn’t want to bother finding a place to change my clothes, so I just wore my suit the whole way. A lot of interesting things happened.

    One moment in particular made me realize the power of dressing nice. I stopped at Subway for lunch, and there were 4 people waiting in line. Meanwhile, there was an employee literally just sitting on the counter doing nothing while these people were waiting in line. But as soon as I stepped up to the counter looking dapper, he jumped up and started making my sandwich.

    In addition to that, people in general at gas stations, coffee shops and the like treated me like some kind of CEO bigshot. Dressing up really does work.

  76. I wonder if it’s like that in the U.S. or anywhere around the world….

    In Israel high tech companies (also in Google e.g.) most people wear jeans to work and it’s fine…

  77. You clearly have way too much money and you must be single (or have a bad wife) because no good woman would allow you to have such an obscene amount of loot on clothing. However, now you look sexy but not so smart lol. I like dork face Neil. I’m torn. Just don’t become a douche.

    I find that when we bend too much for our clients, it never works out anyway.

    • Janine, thanks for your concern and kind words. I look forward to hearing much more from you.

      • You will. I’m just teasing ya! I am doing GREAT implementing all of your advice. You really are a genius. Checking out HelloBar. Looks really cool and just what I need. Favorite product is CrazyEgg. And I like the name lol.

  78. Neil,

    Thanks for the enlightenment.

    I thought the same way. I don’t like clothes either.

    I always wanted to do the Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Dean Jackson, and Mark Zuckerberg thing and live a simple life with the same sets of clothes over and over.

    My wife is against it and wants me to look sharp. Your points make a lot of sense and I will be investing in shopping for some clothes soon.

  79. Neil,

    You also need to take some new photos to replace on your website :).

  80. Priscilla and her Books :

    “people judge us on how well we do based on things they can see.”

    Sad, but true!

  81. It’s true, Neil. No matter how much we want people to respect us for our knowledge and expertise, if we don’t look the part they won’t buy from us.

    Thanks for another useful post.

    Thanks,
    Vi

  82. Neil, this is a great post. Especially in the digital marketing world where it is a t-shirt & jeans type of industry dressing well can make a large difference when making a first impression and closing deals.

    I blog on men’s style at postandmodern.com, check it out and if anyone has style questions you are welcome to contact me via my style blog.

  83. You are literally the world’s biggest douche bag with Mike just behind you in the #2 spot.

    • JG, everyone is entitled to an opinion. Hope you have a good day 🙂

      • some random dude :

        I am not saying either you or Mike are douchebags, I am certain your friends know you as a great person and you are.

        But Mike’s clothes, and the way you photographed him, well, to my unrefined eyes, do scream the d-word.

        And that’s what most such expensive clothes do. The purse (briefcase). King Louis’ purple shoes….

        And I know that a $750 would still pull out of my pants as soon as I left my bedroom just as quickly as my (very expensive) $75 shirt or my $17 dollar shirt.

  84. I have always had a sneaking suspicion that investing in appearance will return in dollars and you have proved it with your research! All I need is a legitimate reason to shop and you made it official with a blog post. Thanks!

  85. Thank Neil,

    It’s a great report… I think I have to review how I dress today…

    Love the post

  86. dayum, I love reading these types of posts.

    So personal.

    I definstrly will rethink dressing better.

  87. Loved this post

    True,Most of the people judge The way one dress.

  88. Patrick Mullin :

    Yes, I have already started to dress nicer and fix my hair each day. I must say that fixing my hair was a huge benefit to the comments and reactions I was getting from other people; especially women. First impression is everything so it’s better to look great than just good because how else are you to stand out amongst others?

    • Patrick, that’s something I overlooked. Hairstyle and the perfect cut matter too!

      • Patrick Mullin :

        It really does! I’ve watched other successful people and I realized their was always on point. I’ll say this. There aren’t too many successful people out besides The Duck Dynasty fellows with long hair and full beards. Hair matters!

  89. Mohammad umair :

    Hi Neil.

    There is a popular saying in Hindi “jo dikhta hain wahi bikta hain” which roughly translates to the more appealing and visible you are, the more you sell

    This article really comes close to confirming this fact.

  90. Your will always back up your points with facts and data, that’s what really like about your blog 😀 This is an excellent piece cheers

  91. Abhishek Singh :

    That is slick!

    Appearance is indeed a very important deciding factor for many deals, business related or social. From professional motives like mergers to investments to the most interpersonal factors like asking a girl out, appearance counts, and counts a lot.

    You have conveyed this in a great way! 😀

    • Abhishek, appearances are what defines people at the end of the day. Before you open your mouth or do anything that is what people will notice.

      • Abhishek Singh :

        That is a bit anti-philosophical actually, when we say that people judge others by the appearance, and not potential. But then if that is what it is all about, nothing can be done. However, I certainly do think that potential suffers in many cases under garbled appearance.

  92. I don’t know it is beneficial for me or not. But I will definitely try

  93. Jessica Parker :

    I regularly reads your blogs and every time i get new ideas from every post you shared, thanks for such nice posts keep posting!! 🙂

  94. Pavankumar Sarathi :

    Very good analysis. Definitely well dressing is necessary for a business to grow, but curious to know how much percentage of
    people just judge based on appearance.

    Thanks for sharing the experience.

  95. Your posts are always useful for newbie like me, I usually wear jeans, T-shirts because of comfort, but I’ve never thought this way that dressings have that much importance. Thanks!

  96. Hey Neil, Nice post again..! Definitely dressing can make a big difference and it effects mostly when you are on a big budget business deal. I agree, Dressing always creates a magical impression on a first meet whether it’s a Sales deal or a Date with a beautiful lady 🙂

  97. Hi neil,

    I can simply say a very big wow to this article. I personally experienced it, when I was in graduation and after my studies I was always good selling my ideas. All that was happened only when they good impression on clothes what I was wearing and how I was presenting my details. So first impression always comes with what you wear and how you present yourself.

    • Hi neil,

      I can simply say a very big wow to this article. I personally experienced it, when I was in graduation and after my studies I was always good at selling my ideas. All that was possible only when someone had good impression on my clothes. My clients and employers always observed what I was wearing and how I was presenting my details. So first impression and best impression always comes with what you wear and how you present yourself.

  98. Ah what a world we live in where “clothes make the man” and a lambo instantly exudes status and power.

    Granted, good point that making more will allow you to give more, but that’s not the end goal …it’s always more $$$$

    Love your work Neil, but not a fan of the message this post sends.

  99. I personally don’t believe in this things. Where people judge you on what & how you wear, instead the Knowledge and character you carry.

    But Unfortunately in India, it works like almost 50% more than mike’s experiment.

    Would definitely try this, and share my views here soon!

    Thanks for sharing that experiment.

  100. I really feel that, this is the whole promotional blog, you just made it with story and you’re promoting big brands only..

    What you say? let’s be honest 🙂

  101. Excellent article Neil as usual.

    Totally agree: looks does make an impact.

    But what do you think of very rich people, wearing very expansive clothes but without style ? I feel that you can tell that they wanna look like rich people, but it doesn’t fit them. And I feel there’s nothing more horrible than people wearing very expensive clothes without style.

    • Antoine, great point. Add to that confidence and how the person feels and presents themselves in the clothes. It’s important to wear nice clothes with a humble demeanor.

  102. Hi Neil, this is great advice. In fact it’s been proven (and I noticed it as well) that dressing smart to go through airports makes you less likely to be stopped by security and you generally get better service. Yeah, you get the odd person who appears jealous but people seem to take me a lot more seriously wherever I go and I get better service if I’m dressed in trousers and a smart shirt rather than shorts and a t-shirt. It’s sad but true.

    These rules can apply to your personal life and not just business.

  103. I’ve picked up designer stuff on Ebay at about 10-20% of their retail value and possibly worn only a few times or not at all e.g. I got a Gucci tux for £255 worth £1850! Gucci suit for £100 worth £2500, all genuine and again if they don’t fit I have a good tailor!

  104. I was in a similar situation to you and I noticed once I started earning more money that when I dressed better, people in the street, stores etc. treated me better than we I looked “poor”. So it isn’t just for business.

  105. Sir
    I want to contact with you by parsonal mail.

  106. Hey Neil,

    I definitely think people judge you based on all sorts of factors.

    “It’s not what you say it’s the way you say it” is a quote I love. By dressing well you are saying that you are successful, confident and not afraid to show it.

    Also, I believe you will FEEL more confident in yourself when you walk into a room and l know you are smartly dressed. Have you ever gone to something underdressed? You feel smaller, less important.

    So I agree that it is peoples judgement of your clothes that will have increased your conversion rate, but don’t forget about your own self-confidence when you were wearing the clothes. That’s a critical factor too.

    Cheers, Steve

    • Steve, great point. Self confidence at the end of the day will dictate a lot too. It’s all about how you wear the clothes that matter too.

  107. Hey Neil,

    Cool post. I noticed that your friend here has also taken over your Instagram account, does that mean your experiment on the platform is now over?

    Cheers,
    Josh

  108. It’s possible that wearing those clothes made you feel more confident which added to the attraction/sales factor.

  109. Great finding Neil,

    Just like you, I’m not much of a clothes person but based on your blog post it can be beneficial to look professional. This is something I will have to focus on as well if I want to land those corporate clients.

    Thank for the post
    Gordon White

  110. Hi Neil,

    The saying must be true then, fine feathers make fine birds! Congrats on your success.

    Have a great day,
    GazRevs

  111. Welcome to what most of us women have known for years. 🙂 Although, working in sports media, I am around a ton of well-dressed men (many of the athletes you mention). It’s proven: if you feel confident about the way you look, you will perform better, too.

    You are so correct, too. You do not have to spend a fortune on cltohes. You can find great stuff at the likes of Zara, H&M, Banana, Reiss, etc.

    Guys, though, are lucky. They can get away with wearing the same suit and simply mixing up the tie, which is what many of my male anchor colleagues do. If female anchors wear the same dress twice in a month, we hear about it.

    • Gina, men definitely do have it easier in that regard. It’s important to keep in mind that us men notice when other men wear the same suits too haha.

  112. Neil,

    Once again, that was a great post. From the moment i started getting dressed extremely well, instead of the usual jeans and T-shirt, my business saw a huge increase in acquiring new clients.

    I couldn’t afford spending hundreds of thousands of dollars but a few thousands dollars, made the difference for me.

    Thanks!

  113. I always thought, that only scum people buy Dolce & Gabbana… 🙂

  114. Hey Neil,
    you have spent lots of $$$$ in shopping

    we r waiting to come n shop in Hyderabad in Hyderabadi style 😛

  115. Great article Neil. I’m really just posting to see if you are still responding to the comments – it’s impressive !

  116. Amazing as always Neil, I Am just wondering how these creative and successive ideas hit up your mind.

  117. +1 For Zara, the most stylish ‘work clothes’ on the high street. At least in the UK!

    Might also be worth checking out tailoring, I got a shirt and coat tailored for me (I even choose the fabric ect) when travelling in Vietnam (Hanoi) for about $100 (was a good tailor – they do differ). I understand it’s dramatically cheaper in India.

    Since they have my measurements on file, I can order more from them and they simply post it to me for the same price + shipping. Obviously adjustments are difficult but even so the fit is great!

    Sam

    • Sam, Zara really is a good alternative. My friend wears Zara and sometimes you can’t tell the difference between our wardrobes.

  118. Neil – love this case study! It’s so true. I facilitate style classes to show women how to dress for their body, lifestyle and demonstrate the versatility of pieces.
    I am sharing this and would love to interview you in the future! ????????????????

  119. You seriously know how to come with titles.

  120. Great post! I not only agree with this, but I do this for a living. For anyone interested in dressing in better, visit our site m.stylingon.com – a men’s luxury styling service.

  121. David J. Bradley :

    Thank GOD someone did this experiment finally! I’ve used this on a small scale for years now (I.e., H&M, Zara scale), and it does work. Thanks Neil

  122. Priyanka, I look forward to hearing your results!

  123. I agree with you completely that dressing well is very serendipitous. I’ve literally gotten clients by starting up a conversation with someone in an elevator about the suit I was wearing.

    However, I don’t necessarily know if wearing expensive clothes is the answer, I think it’s being well dressed. While I don’t necessarily think a men’s warehouse suit will do the trick (or any generic “off the rack” suit), you can get high quality, custom tailored clothes without. There are online shops like http://www.indochino.com/ and plenty of local tailors that can get you a great looking custom suit without going overboard. That’s just my thoughts though.

    Cheers!

  124. If this is the case, how do you think about photos of the websites? I mean personal photos of website owners.

  125. GREAT article, Neil! This is the world we live in. Don’t try to fight it. Unless you’re Mark Cuban, you’re not going to be able to attract big deals with just a t-shirt and jeans. I wish I would’ve learned this life-changing lesson sooner.

    How you “package” yourself directly affects your bottom line. I’ve personally witnessed this. It dramatically boosts your confidence as well.

  126. This is extremely out of the box. Fashion, to me is the sixth sense. And without it we’re better off walking solitary on the street with no target direction. Someone’s gotta say “yes” or “teach me” and only a mentor can teach. The thing people will see is your outfit. And don’t expect to get employed or get accepted with your a rumpled sleeve and tie swung upfront to the left. Dress successful, you’ll be addressed as a successful. Dress like a Pope, that’ll be your new name for that day. And if you really think it out, Neil, it’s worth the cash.. if every $162,000 you spend on clothes will catapult a whooping $600,000 to your bank account (excluding the nice comments and opportunities earned by you from random pedestrians), then you should be spending more on clothes. Really. When I dress well, I feel like “yeah, I’m Obama”. But when I go across the street with a short “Tommy” Pant and soft singlet, it feels like I’ve got my “Swag” swallowed.

  127. Neil, check out Suit Supply. They only have a few stores around the US (none in LA), but you can order from online as well. They’re high quality and most of their suits are in the $500-800 range.

    For people more on a budget, Zara, H&M, Express, and the Bar 3 brand from Macy’s are all great lower priced options that fit well.
    The next level up would be Banana Republic and J Crew.

  128. So well written! I have heard this exact same sentiment time and again from my clients at Trunk Club. Their enhanced wardrobe has led to promotions among many other overall life improvements. The only thing I would recommend is trying custom clothing. You will get the quality, design and luxury of a designer pieces but a fit you could never get simply tailoring something off the rack.

    If you are interested in learning more please don’t hesitate to reach out!

  129. Hey man! Been a while since I caught up on your blogs, and as they always have, still impressive! Thanks for confirming a thought I’ve had for the past couple weeks, looks like it’s time to buy some new threads!

  130. So I disagree with one of the major points of this article. You aren’t saying that people need to dress nice. You are saying that you need to spend $200,000 on clothes to make yourself appear more successful.

    The attitude where I find myself the least attracted to the article is you think it is the AMOUNT you spend, not what you spend it on. I know that I get dresses that cost at retail over $500 in stores for $6.99 at local second hand or goodwill store. I think there is nothing wrong with that, and it’s the same exact clothes, thread for thread that you wear.

    The fact that you think it’s appropriate that people spend that much money on clothing is not only elitist, but arrogant in the worst possible way. While looking great is important to doing great business, to boast about how much you spend on clothing when you could get the same thing for 90% cheaper makes you the sap.

    • Neil, disregard this prick. She obviously didn’t read this great post. He never said it’s appropriate to spend 200,000 on clothes, as a matter of fact he clearly said DO NOT do what he did and explained why he did spend that much, For convenience and to tend to his laptop, aka business.

      P.S. Neil i sent you a email.

  131. Serena @ Thrift Diving :

    I want to disagree with everything you say, BUT…..I have to admit that you are so right. Not about the amount, but about dressing nice, looking classy, having STYLE. People hold you to a higher standard.

    It’s sad to admit, but I have nothing to wear. I hate dressing up to come to work. I recycle the same ‘ole lint-ball work pants a couple times a week per pair, teamed with beat-up Uggs. At last my hair be lookin’ straight! ;). But this is my work environment. It’s no wonder things aren’t going well here. If I dressed a million bucks, they’d probably treat me like so :).

    You may have just changed my life with this advice 🙂

    Thanks for that!

    Serena @ Thrift Diving

  132. Serena @ Thrift Diving :

    Ugh….That’s supposed to be my slang for “at least my hair be lookin’ straight!” Typos! LOL

  133. Really inspiring and thought-provoking article. How you dress determines how you are addressed. Ride on Neil. Your work is much appreciated.

  134. Spending lots of money on clothes certainly doesn’t mean you have style. You can look great for far less than $100,000. The article is a bit absurd… in my opinion.

  135. Neil,

    That’s not a briefcase, that’s a purse!

    Interesting post. Got me thinking … I usually wear jeans and a T, plus maybe a jacket when I’m in our SF office.

    The real pain: travelling with an upgraded wardrobe. No more shoving stuff in suitcases and going …

  136. Mica Sangalang :

    Neil, I’m curious what did you give those basketball players and manager in exchange for their generosity when you met them? Or were they paying it forward because of your impression of success?
    Thanks for the article, it’s influenced me to update my wardrobe.

    Mica

  137. Anthony Nemitz :

    Hey Neil — who is your go-to tailor? Did you get any bespoke work done as well?

  138. Wow, what a remarkable article, Neil.

    You talk about dressing for business meetings and networking. Any idea how this plays out in interviews? This is a very casual region. Be interested in your thoughts.

  139. Hi Neil,

    I live in Laos – Southeast Asia, and appearance here in Asia is a huge thing. If you don’t look the part then nobody is interested in giving you the time of day!
    Great post and great advice, much appreciated.

  140. Nice post! We all know that this works, but the real life instances that you have quoted in the article make this totally doubt-proof. Moreover, I believe that well-fitted, tailor-made dresses boost up the overall confidence and thus help improve the stance of a person! And when you are confident, nobody can stop you from winning! 🙂

  141. Wow! I’ve heard a very successful businessman (Dan Pena) say over and again that “perception is reality” and for the first time I see how this this saying truly plays out.

    I’m definitely making some major changes come 2015. I too need to get some “piece of the action” type deals.

    Thanks for such a great post!

    • Dave, perception really is reality. I think at the end of the day if you are doing all the right things it will show and people will be more inclined to trust you at face value — until then dress to impress haha.

  142. Hi Neil,
    I wonder if the magic of Christmas has sprinkled its dust all over my wish list so that I will be able to comment on this article without ending up in your spam folder.

    I rebelled for years against the concept that “clothes maketh man” – we should all have deeper perception than that – we should all make the effort to investigate each others views and values at a deeper value and not take things at face value, blah, blah.

    Unfortunately, hard experience taught me that 9 times out of 10, face value is a fair indicator – I emphasise not definitive but a useful indicator.

    I wish you well.

    • Zarayna,
      Yeah my spam filter is a bit strict — glad I saw this!

      Clothes don’t make a man but they definitely will skew perceptions dramatically. I didn’t make the rules, I just play by them sometimes haha.

  143. Interesting study, Neil! I always try to be as presentable as possible when meeting new people – you only get one chance to make a first impression!

  144. Great Article!

    Here’s my question ->

    In The Millionaire Next Door, Thomas Stanley writes that almost all the millionaires he has studied wear old suits and don’t have many of them. I remember that the overall theme of the book is that millionaires are frugal.

    Does this contradict your point in this article? This seems to go with the mantra, “You’ve gotta spend money to make money.”

    Of course, you’re not necessarily saying, “Spend Money Readers!” You’re more saying it’s socially impactful to appear like you’re spending lots of money…

    I’d love your thoughts on the long term benefits of frugality.

    With appreciation,
    Ian Robinson

    • Ian, You are right on the dot. It’s all about spending money wisely to make money. At the end of the day you have to focus on the things that will grow your bank account and your brand.

  145. i love this blog putthison.com – they seriously know how to get you to dress better.

  146. What would happen if you changed your ‘photo image’ (the smiling-nerdier Neil) to the ‘swaggier’ Neil (holding the pool cue)?
    The shaved head gentleman is you, Neil, right?

    Curious how this would change the numbers, types and content of your material?

    Tnx,
    Richard

    PS Love your content!

  147. Wow, Nice Read!! I am heading out to the store right now. I am going to spend $200,000 on clothes and $400,000 for a new car. This should net me at least $2,000,000.

  148. Thank you! This post is a great kick-in-the-pants for me after spending too many days working at home in my pyjamas! As a woman, it’s interesting to learn that men get judged by appearances, too–and that some men notice “repeat suits.” I guess men can’t get away with any old thing!

    But your most important point came right at the end: tailoring. I can immediately spot an off-the-rack suit because of how it fits–but the same off-the-rack suit could look bespoke with tailoring. It’s worth the money for those of us who aren’t buying fancy brands.

    A cultural note: Here in Washington, DC, where I grew up, cheap ill-fitting suits, and of course military uniforms, have long been a beloved sign of sincerity. Even though I love seeing well-dressed people in New York or London, when I see them in DC I assume they’re lobbyists looking to buy a couple senators! Next time I see someone well-dressed, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they’re a reader of this blog, or maybe just new to town. Great post.

    • Odessa, I don’t think anyone should be judged for dressing well. They just want to be presentable and make a good impression. It’s like being prepared for the first day of any new job. With that being said I think you are on the right track and I am sure you will look great in your new threads!

  149. I tend to dress in fairly nice clothes for meetings, but prefer to be in jeans and a hoodie most of the time.

    I think I just like the look on peoples face when I jump out of my new Cadillac looking like i’m getting ready to go to school. I mean, it’s not Lambo, but it definitely gets some good comments.

    To your point though, I bought that car so that clients would take me more seriously. I used to drive a 1997 Honda CRV, because I didn’t want to appear like I made too much money, and lose deals. In fact, the opposite happened, I started closing bigger deals, and have had clients call me up, after handing me a check, and say, “Dang man, thats a great looking Caddy, you must be good!”

    I think I will go out and buy myself a new briefcase today.

    • Jeremy, I like your mentality. There is a time and place for everything. If you are getting groceries or going shopping you don’t need to wear a suit haha.

  150. What a good read for a Friday morning. Thanks!

  151. Hi Neil,

    Thanks so much for the awesome article! Its so true that tailored clothing looks amazing and makes you feel more successful as a guy. I’m a stylist with J.Hilburn and we use the same Italian fabrics you show from burberry and zegna, but sell them at a 1/3 of the price with custom fit. You might want to check us out so that more can go to the charity next time ;-). Johanna (info above)

  152. Hi Neil,
    I always feel more confident in expensive cloths and wearing it gives super nice feeling. Only thing I never thought was that someone would write about it. Thanks a lot.

  153. Hey Neil, where do you go for fashion tips for men? Is there a particular blog you follow or you just have a good sense for fashion? 😀

  154. Cameron Miller :

    Superb article and I will now look at return on investment in clothing/cars in a new light. In fact it would appear that one could go larger as their income increases to say 10k, 25k, 50k,100,250k,1M+ and keep vigorously testing the data for ROI until it is no longer supported. As long as the data is supported I see no reason to slow down. Lambos/Ferraris will attract other successful people that drive such cars and more = lead to more connections = more business opps etc. Long as the business opportunity is sound with set risk and high reward it appears to be a rather virtuous cycle.

  155. Hello Neil,

    This is one of my favorite topics – and not because I’m a shopping lover. In fact, I don’t care clothes at all. I just love it because is a super controversial topic.

    I know people like David Wood (7-figure earner) who dress so bad, and is very successful. You can even see him without shoes speaking on stage (LOL).

    But there is the other side of the coin.

    You Neil, and your friend Mike Kamo use to wear really good, and you’re very successful as well…

    So my veredict is: It really depends on your audience, your environment and your niche.

    Maybe I’m wrong, I don’t know. What do you think Neil?

    Anyway, thanks for sharing such great blog post. I’ll definitely start to use better clothes.

    Cheers,
    Josue Valles

  156. Hey Neil – interesting stuff

    If I backed into the numbers correctly, this represents pitching $4.6 Million in business. A 25% closing rate would yield $1.15M ~ another 15% – represents the $692,500 for the improved 40% closing rate or $1.843M Revenues.

    What percentage of leads come from your blog(s) vs. guest posts vs personal relationships / referrals?

    How were you dressing when you were closing 25%?
    Is this a transition from Jeans & tees or from a $700 suit to a $7,000 suit? (Or something else?)

  157. HM and Zara are probably two of the stores that are affordable for almost any budget (with a bit of efforts from the low-income generating population), but I find that they put good quality into their apparels.

    There are also a few other brands that are only available in Europe which are worth mentioning but are irrelevant if they’re not available world-wide.

  158. I think there is also a side effect not mention here. People don’t only perceive your clothes but the confidence, the energy those clothes make you feel. As a woman, when I have to go to a meeting with clients and sell my services, I wear great lingerie under my clothes and high heels shoes. It makes me feel so confident that I rock it every time.

  159. This. Is. Amazing. From a woman’s perspective – we are grounded into the power of appearances. People tend to write off fashion and style as superficial of ‘fluffy’ but for all humans, regardless of gender, we communicate ourselves visually before we interact with each other. We are constantly representing our brands. If we’re entrepreneurs, we’re walking billboards for ourselves. So, if you want to be making a certain amount of money, visualizing what you would look like/wear/how you would speak at that point is a great place to start. It gives some fodder for going out and jumping on some badass new outfits, and there isn’t a person on earth whose confidence isn’t boosted by feeling truly amazing in what they’re wearing. Confidence also attracts wealth and success. Thanks for sharing this, it’s so important. Cheers!

  160. Jessica Riverson :

    Oh my goodness Neil I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this article. Wow. This substantiates everything I do to help my clients who are holistic service providers command higher fees. I have known for a long time that how one presents themselves makes a HUGE difference but because I’m not a stylist I don’t delve too deeply into that with clients. NOW I WILL. And I will use this article as back-up. Thank you so much for doing this experiment and sharing it with all of us, Neil. You’re brilliant!

  161. Very interesting insights! I never ventured to guess that the correlation between success and wardrobe was this stark. Question I do have is this: where does one start? I feel like I have decent style but that’s my perception and maybe not necessarily reality. What helped you in terms of fashion, accessorizing, determining outfits, etc?

  162. Is this native advertising for Tom Ford, Dolce, Gabbana, and Burberry? HAHAHA

  163. This exemption contains the sale of equipment as well as other content that used, manufactured, is linked, or assembled that’s used-to comprise an entire power system. Nevertheless, product such as mud, gravel isn’t considered equipment or perhaps a part of equipment. Consequently they are nonexempt from your tax.

  164. I’m new to your blog but this post was so fun to read and I am going to start paying closer attention to what I wear after reading this. I’m also very impressed at how you respond to almost every comment, even the rude ones. 😉

  165. Neil, how do you balance being the nice approachable/relatable guy vs cut throat business dude in $10k threads? I wonder what your take is on things if you want to remain approachable yet influential?

    You mentioned you don’t care for dressing nice normally and are an approachable guy and have done well for yourself. How did people treat you personally? Was it more professional, less friendly? Were your interactions with people different/better/worse with your new look than before?

  166. Funny, This is about me when I wear a successful looking dress. People around me started asking “do you have a job for me?”.

  167. JuliAnn Stitick :

    Hello Neil,

    Successful professionals bring their A-game to every aspect of business, including their image.

    As an Image Expert and Strategist, I thank you for this research. It’s what I’ve been telling my clients and audiences for years. I’ll be including these numbers in my next presentation.

    Be well, JuliAnn

  168. awesome neil, thanks for sharing this

  169. Neil, thanks for such a great article. I discovered that first impression the client gets determines if I get the business or not. From my experience the choice of dress code is a very important part of the bargain esp when meeting new clients.

  170. Neil-

    I have a business mentor and he and I work together on fine tuning my personal brand, image on the Internet (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) and we were talking about this topic last night. And then I read this today…
    While I agree completely that clean image can boost confidence in ability – my mentor (an incredibly successful member of C-suite at a multinational corporation) told me that when deciding who to give raises to, many executive members of businesses and corporations will look at what cars people drive when coming to work – and give the largest raises to those who drive the oldest, least expensive cars into the lot – because they need the raise the most.
    Do you think that there is a difference between ability to grow in lower level position within a company (when it comes to the perception of wealth and success by your executives) and being in a consulting position where you are more hands on with the client? Does target audience play a part in this experiment? And if so- to what degree can those who want to develop and grow within a different corporate structure apply your technique?
    Strategic planning for your future is essential and being intentional with the personal brand you are creating has long lasting effects – do you think there can be adverse affects to your concept? Can you create an image for yourself that limits you instead of bolsters success? Your experience has created lots of questions for me, thanks for sharing!

  171. Portal Empréstimo :

    Hi Neil,

    This has been an eye-opener for me.

    Like you most of the time I’m working at home dressed with basktball shorts.

    I’ll be doing the same experiment you did and note my closing ratios.

  172. Dan, thanks for your vote.

  173. Green arrow jacket :

    that car is simply outstanding .

  174. Michal Kahn :

    Hey Neil,

    Great article. How do you think that rule applies when looking at people like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs for example? are they not part of the equation? I’m curious.

    Michal

    • Michal, they have a certain persona surrounding them. In marketing there are certain things that matter (that don’t necessarily matter in tech)

  175. Harshit Bhootra :

    Was just reading your old articles, and yes there is treasure hidden somewher in this blog. I BET !!

  176. Wow!

    I’m impressed. Never thought that it could be so critical…

    Nice idea I got from this reading is to consider fine clothing as business investment )) At least for the beginning…

    Thanks Neil.

  177. Pretty enlightening article. All stuff I learned in marketing and life, but it’s nice to see a real world example of how big of an impact it can have. Although I do understand the importance of a personal brand and that people do judge you on how you look, I do not dress very nice. This is partly because I am cheap and trying to pay off a mountain of student debt and partly because I believe in a meritocratic society and naively thought I could be the exception to the rule. I am a top performer yet I have difficulty making the moves I know I should be able to make. I am looking to totally change careers and want to start a career in consulting. My question is, do you see this being effective for getting a job? You guys both have your own businesses and were hired for what they thought you could do for their company. Do you think that this will help me to get offers for employment?

    • Perry, appearances matter for better or worse — I would try it out. Don’t go overboard on it until you find that it works though.

  178. Came across your site from a posting in Good Vibe University. You’re definitely a great example of how to manifest your dreams! I just don’t need the temptation to buy more clothes 😉

  179. hey Neil! Can you post the links, or the actual names of the suits, shoes, bags, etc. for the images that you posted?

  180. Hi Neil,

    Why Zara and H&M stores are getting special attention by hyperlinks 😛

  181. As someone who used to be a clotheshorse, I’d have to agree with you. I noticed a similar result in my consulting days in Toronto that I had long forgotten about until I stumbled across this article just now. One train of thought is that when you wear good clothes, you feel good. When you feel good, you feel confident, and when you feel confident, people want to interact with you – but they don’t always know why. We’re tactile creatures and quality clothes can make you feel nice – specifically materials such as cotton, linen, silk.

    I spent a fair bit on clothes way back, but what I would do to save money is go to the boutique fashion shops on Queen St. West in Toronto and buy stylish clothes on sale after their “season” was up. Here in California, I’ve noticed that Macy’s dept stores have a lot of sales and you can often get high quality clothes for reasonable prices then. Nordstrom’s is another such place (now that Macy’s is closing up a lot of their stores).

    • Raj, who you are is exemplified best by how you are perceived. I know it’s unfair and not a good indicator of true worth but first impressions make all the difference in the business world.

      Dress to impress holds a lot of weight. Sounds like you got it all down though 😉

  182. Hope you have more personal stories like this Neil! I keep on rereading this because the stories you mentioned are so entertaining and it’s nice to be able to see another aspect of your personality. Keep it up!

    • Jeanne, I am just a regular guy at the end of the day 🙂 I like writing and having people read these stories too 🙂

  183. Andréa Gaillet :

    The old saying “You can’t judge a book by its cover” may be true, but in the business world, people are evaluated by their appearance.

    Thank you for sharing your personal experience. We need to be reminded that first impressions are everything, and we only get one chance to make a positive first impression.

    • Andrea, for better or worse that’s the name of the game — so it’s important to always provide the best foot forward. Thanks for sharing!

  184. Louis Kennedy :

    I’m totally awed by this test, Neil! Trust me, I wouldn’t have thought of fashion from this angle. I knew dressing great and smart has its upsides, but I never thought of it from the business angle.

    Now, I’m stepping out there to confirm this test!

    Louis

    • Louis, it really makes a difference. It’s a tough reality to swallow but the way one looks is what creates a first impression – dressing to impress is important.

  185. Hey Neil,

    Great insights.

    I’m probably among those who wouldn’t sign you a six figure check but compliment your good work and clothes as well .

    That counts, doesn’t it?

  186. Hi Neil, you’re so correct. I live in Nigeria and what you said is definitely true. When one is well dressed here you’re treated as a ‘big man’ (our colloquial for the rich). I’ve experienced it myself as I’m a lawyer. Whenever I dress formally I’m taken more seriously, however if I’m dressed casually people tend to have second thoughts about accepting my professional advice even when they are aware of my qualification, which obviously affects the bottom line. So sad but so true.

    • Alphonso, it’s a sad but true phenomenon. If you want to succeed and truly stand out you just have to go with it.

  187. Sachin Nalawade :

    Hi Neil,
    Thanks for this interesting post, I will give a try!! Would let you know the results.

  188. Very late post to this, the business benefits are great but dressing better also had benefits of having more women/men hit on you. Did you notice this as well, I’m guessing yes just based on some of the ladies comments off this post.

  189. Brian Tabor :

    Me being an young aspiring clothing designer and entrepreneur myself found this super interesting and even though very obvious, it was the first time I seen some type of experiment put in place granite the sample was small the results were still incredible. I guess most people are judging the cover and not the pages. Great article, you definitely found yourself a new reader!
    Brian from Zeeblu.com

    • Clothing is a tool that you can use to attract clietns. Glad to have you on board Brian. If you need help with anything, please don’t hesitate to ask

  190. butik dershane :

    I guess most people are judging the cover and not the pages

  191. I think premium domain names act like nice clothes as well and can get your visitors attention.

    It’s all about appearance!

    I’m getting addicted to your site 🙂 I spend at least 1-2 hours a day reading your posts.

    great post

  192. Really cool, i laughed at the DnG swag comment 😀

    Sweden im coming for you

  193. And also Burberry is epic!

  194. What about a watch Neil? Whats your take?

  195. Great article!
    But I think that is more difficult for women to dress up for meetings, at least in my case I never know what to wear and sometimes I have a full day of meetings so I have to go for the confortable option.
    Plus I live in Argentina so finding good brands here at good prices is very difficult 🙁
    But I am going to try the experiment and see the results!

  196. Tevi Hirschhorn :

    Great article Neil. Definitely dress for success if you want success. I’ve run into “posers,” though, who like to look the part but got there with credit card debt. By contrast, you’ve established yourself as a successful person, and you dressed up after already achieving a lot on your own.

    You’re not really suggesting shopping at D&G and buying a Lamborghini just to get in with the right crowd, are you?

  197. Neil, this is inspiring, thank you. I want to add that women need to pay attention to their hair and skin as well. It is EASY to tell when a woman colors her hair herself. Find a fantastic color specialist and see him/her consistently. A woman’s makeup is essential too. Learn how to apply it correctly. White teeth, proper hair color and hair style, nails, skin — a woman is judged on this as well. Not only does she need to dress smart, but she also needs to look well-groomed. You don’t need to be sexy or beautiful even. But tend to those details, and you’ll find the respect you deserve. (I wish it weren’t so, but it is the reality we live in.)

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